Displaying items by tag: river cruise

Monday, 26 February 2024 11:05

Vietnam and Cambodia

IMG 6023Our trip of almost three weeks to Vietnam and Cambodia included hotel stays, a seven day cruise and various forms of transportation that consisted of a motorbike food tour, rickshaw, ox cart and Tuk Tuk rides.

The most difficult aspect of the trip is the extensive flying as Vietnam is halfway around the world from Philadelphia.

Upon arrival in Ho Chi Minh City, we explored quite a bit by foot. Our arrival coincided with Tet ( the Lunar New Year) which meant there were decorations and festivities everywhere. The city is basically safe for tourists but you must be extremely careful when crossing streets as everyone pretty much ignores the traffic signals and goes no matter the color. We found this to be true in Hanoi as well. The most interesting venue in Ho Chi Minh City was the War Remnants Museum where the “American War” is represented through the rhetoric of the Vietnamese government. But the most fun we had was riding on the back of a motorbike and stopping at six different places to sample Vietnamese street food.

Our cruise on the AMA Dara was very enjoyable even more so due to the attentive service of the crew. The ships decor reflected the Asian influence of our surroundings. Every day we ventured off the ship to explore the many villages of the Mekong River.

In Cambodia, the most sobering tour of our visit was to the Killing Fields. Our guide, Buntha, was a survivor of the Killing Fields and his first hand account of the atrocities was bone chilling.

Our ship overnighted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and we decided to have dinner at Malis, a local restaurant recommended by the ship. After a delicious dinner, our Tuk Tuk driver waited while we explored the night market.

But the true highlight of the trip was our visit to Angkor Wat. Most of us decided to join the sunrise tour which left the hotel at 5am. It was a truly spectacular morning and we arrived back at the hotel for breakfast and time to sit by the pool at our beautiful hotel in Siem Reap.

We flew to Hanoi and were pleased to arrive to temperatures in the 70’s which were much appreciated after the 80’s and 90’s of the previous days. Hanoi was very similar to Ho Chi Minh City with motorbikes everywhere but seemed a little more Communist in that the people seemed to be very careful with their statements. Certain topics were not to be discussed.

Before our last night in Hanoi, we overnighted on a lovely ship in Halong Bay where we had many excursions to the various surrounding islands.

Upon returning back to Hanoi, we explored the Old Quarter on our own. The city was very festive as it was enjoying the last moments of celebrating the Year of the Dragon.

Published in Our Travel Blog
Wednesday, 27 April 2022 11:49

Osijek to Zagreb

Departing AvalonWaterways The food on Avalon Waterways was truly delicious and the casual dinner in the Panorama Lounge that is offered in addition to the Dining Room menu is a great alternative. The crew was incredibly friendly and their service was excellent…definitely a cruise line we will travel again.

We awoke to spectacular skies and prior to disembarkation, we received our antigen tests for returning to the USA…we were negative!

We then boarded a bus for a four hour trip to Zagreb. Upon arriving in Zagreb, we had lunch followed by a walking city tour. We realize now that we should have spent 2 nights in Zagreb as we were too tired from the early departure and long bus ride to truly enjoy this wonderful city. Some of our group dined locally in the evening while many chilled out at the hotel due to early morning departures.

Our transatlantic flight home on American was once again in premium economy and well worth the additional cost for the wider seats and additional legroom.

Published in Our Travel Blog
Monday, 25 April 2022 11:46


Belgrade pedestrian streetUpon arriving in Belgrade, we embarked on a walking food tour that embodied a typical Serbian breakfast, snack and lunch. We were totally stuffed but still managed to eat a great deal at our local Serbian dinner that evening.

Published in Our Travel Blog
Sunday, 24 April 2022 11:42

Avalon Waterways

IMG 3589Cruising the next morning we went to the upper deck to experience the ship going through the locks and traveling the Danube with Romania on one side and Serbia on the opposite shore. In the afternoon we hiked through Djerdap National Park and were rewarded with incredible views. That evening we took a short walk from our ship to Golubac Fortress, Defender of the Iron Gates.

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Saturday, 23 April 2022 11:39

Vidin, Bulgaria

IMG 3557In the morning we decided to explore the lovely town of Vidin and it’s pedestrian area. I managed to purchase 3 pairs of shoes for $ 100 from a shopkeeper who spoke no English…sign language prevails everywhere when you’re too lazy to use Google Translator. That evening we were treated to an authentic Bulgarian Folklore show prior to dinner.

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Friday, 22 April 2022 11:24

Avalon Waterways

IMG 3554We relaxed the next morning and enjoyed the ship’s amenities especially the club lounge where coffee, tea, juice ,cookies and doughnuts are always available. Our afternoon was a bus ride and then a guided hike to Krushuna Waterfalls.

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Thursday, 21 April 2022 11:22

Bucharest and Avalon Waterways

IMG 3514The next day back in Bucharest we toured the Spring Palace of Nicolae Ceausescu filled with opulence and  grandeur. We also enjoyed a city tour driving past the Arch of Triumph and the Parliament building.

In the afternoon we boarded our Avalon Waterways ship to cruise the Lower Danube. Our stateroom was well appointed with plenty of room for our clothes and toiletries. One wonderful feature is that the very comfortable bed faces the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors so you are always enjoying the scenery that is floating by.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2022 11:19

Transylvania Day 2

Bran CastleAfter spending the night at our hotel in Brasov, we visited Prejmer, the largest fortified church in Southeast Europe. Later we visited the Old Town of Brasov. Our evening highlight was a visit to Bran Castle, home of Vlad The Impaler on whom the Dracula stories were based. And imagine our delight and surprise to learn upon returning home that our 11 year old granddaughter Maddie had just completed a project on Vlad and even constructed an amazing replica of him. Maddie is incredibly talented!

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022 13:28


Heidi and Deborah Peles Castle Transylvania April 19 2022…The next morning we visited Sinaia Monastery before driving through the Carpathian Mountains to Peles Castle which was the summer residence of Romanian kings. This spectacular castle was the first European castle with electricity. We arrived at Cantacuzino Castle for lunch and were unexpectedly able to tour this incredible space …and much to our delight, it snowed!

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Monday, 18 April 2022 13:26

Bucharest Romania

Bill and Deborah at Athenee Palace HiltonArrived in Bucharest Romania just in time to join our fellow travelers on a walking food tour of the city. The Balkan, Ottoman, French and Russian influences were evident in the many foods we sampled.

Bucharest has many beautiful buildings which are in stark contrast to the edifices built during the Communist era.

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